Off-the-beaten-track study spots around town
There comes a time in every student’s life when they turn to coffee. Maybe it’s the only thing that will get you through your never-ending night class, or it’s your favourite part of your morning ritual. The fact of the matter is that most students turn to coffee (or a highly caffeinated tea) to get through the worst parts of their semester.
As midterms quickly approach (yes, already), Biblio Cafe and the Munchie Bar grow busier by the day. But you don’t need to stay on campus and wait in tedious lines when Victoria is home to a plethora of charming cafes, each serving delicious baked goods and local coffee — without hordes of fellow stressed students.
Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe
If you’re an early bird looking for a place off-campus to study, Pure Vanilla may be the place for you. Open daily at 7 a.m. (7:30 a.m. on Sundays), they offer a wide variety of tempting treats (cakes, pastries, cookies) as well as breakfast, lunch, and beverage options. Weather permitting, they have seating outside in front of the cafe, as well as a lovely patio out back. Located at 2590 Cadboro Bay Road, Pure Vanilla is reachable from campus via the number 7, 11, or 15 bus.
La Roux Patisserie
La Roux is arguably one of the prettiest snack/study spots in Victoria. Everything from their chandelier to the decorated macarons exudes elegance, and I’ve yet to try a pastry from their extensive display that I haven’t liked. They serve Fernwood Coffee and Silk Road Tea, and have the loveliest staff. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon or planning a reading break getaway over a piece of cake, La Roux is sure to please.
Street Level Espresso
Despite its lack of signage (and on-site bathroom), Street Level is a Victoria gem. Nestled between a jewelry shop and the better-known Dutch Bakery, Street Level is an Italian coffee bar serving up delicious hot drinks (I recommend their rose street fog), Cold Comfort ice cream sandwiches, and baked goods from Sidney Scones. The best part, other than the quirky conversations with the baristas), is that it’s two steps away from Russell Books — making it that much quicker (and tastier) to dive right into your latest I-really-don’t-need-another-book purchase.
Marina Dockside Eatery
If studying on campus or downtown isn’t your cup of tea, consider hauling your textbooks down to the waterfront. While many Victorians know the Oak Bay Marina Restaurant as a higher-end eatery with beautiful views, walking alongside the gift shop and around the back leads to a small coffee shop with more student-appropriate prices. Sip on a hot drink while watching the seals and breathe in that good sea air when you start feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork.
Picnic Too, located at 1019 Fort Street, is a charming cafe just outside the downtown core. They have an ever-changing breakfast and lunch menu, as well as hot and cold drinks, Empire donuts, and other tasty pastries. All of their coffee is from 2% Jazz (a local Victoria roastery) and their staff recommends ordering either a classic Americano or their cold brew (as these are their most popular orders). With trendy decor and tons of tables and booths to choose from, Picnic Too is a great place to spread out and study with a delicious snack and lots of coffee. The original Picnic location can be found at 506 Fort Street (near Wharf Street).